The Fama Fraternitatis Rosae
fraternitatis Roseae Crucis oder Die Bruderschaft des Ordens der Rosenkreuzer), or simply theFama
Fraternitatis, is an anonymousRosicrucian manifesto published in
1614 inKassel (Germany). It was translated intoEnglish in 1652 byThomas
Vaughan. It was published as an appendix of the 77th. Advertisement
(section) intitled Generale Riforma dell' Universo (The Universal Reformation of Mankind) of a German
translation of Bocallini's satira Ragguagli di Parnasso (Advertisements from Parnassus). The Fama which
created a profound effect was soon published in separate form.
TheFama tells the story of the "Father C.R." (later on C.R.C., the mythical
Rosenkreuz), his ill-fated pilgrimage toJerusalem; his subsequent tutelage by the
secret sages of the east, the wise men ofDamcar inArabia, from whom he learned the ancientesoteric
knowledge which included the study ofphysics,mathematics,magic andkabbalah; his return throughEgypt andFes and his presence among thealumbrados in Spain. It is thought
inoccultism that Rosenkreuz's pilgrimage
seems to refer to transmutation steps of theGreat
After his arrival toGermany, Father C.R. and other Brothers established anesoteric Christian Fraternity: "The
Fraternity of the Rose Cross". The Brothers of the Fraternity were sent in mission throughout the world,
having as their first priority to use theirknowledge to "cure the sick" in a free of charge way "that
gratis", not wearing any special clothing, and met once each year in the mysterious "House of the Holy
The Legend shows an agreement with six articles that they drew up Prior to
their separation, bounding themselves one to another to keep:
- That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick,
and that gratis.
- None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one kind of habit,
but to follow the custom of the country.
- Every year, upon the day C., they would meet together at the house Santi
Spiritus, or write the cause of their absence.
- Every Brother should seek a worthy person to succeed him after his
- The word CR should be their seal, mark, and character.
- The Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years.
List of names in the Legend
The Legend presented in the Manifestos has been interpreted through centuries
as texts full of symbolism. Rosicrucians clearly adopted through the Manifestos thePythagorean tradition of envisioning objects
and ideas in terms of their numeric aspects, and, on the other hand, they directly state in
Fraternitatis, "We speak unto you by parables, but would willingly
bring you to the right, simple, easy and ingenuous exposition, understanding, declaration, and knowledge of
In the narrative
- I. A.
- R.C. (C.R.C.'s deceased father's brother's son): (see also description in
the vault below).
- B. (a skillful painter)
- I.O. (P.A. was his successor)
- P.D. (A. was his successor, and N.N. was in turn A's
- R. (successor to C.R.C.)
The sentence "C.R.C.'s deceased father's brother's son" has always been a
deeply enigmatic one. There is the possibility that it may refer to therebirth process, a central tenet teaching of
groups having, or claiming to have, a Rosicrucian philosophy. This would imply that "Father C.R.", possibly
of the 13th/14th century, would have been reborn to "R.C.", becoming the 14th/15th century C.R.C. in the
Manifestos. This appears to confirm what several later sources wrote about the Rosicrucian
- According to the Anthroposophy founderRudolf
Steiner, the Mystery of the foundation of the Rosicrucian Order
in the early 14th century relates to the birth ofChristian
Rosenkreuz in the 13th century, and his later rebirth in
the 14th century.
- According to Maurice Magre, inMagicians, Seers, and Mystics, derived from
local oral tradition, Christian Rosenkreuz was the last descendant of the Germelschausen, a German family
which flourished in the 13th century. Their Castle stood in the Thuringian Forest on the Border of Hesse
and they had embraced Albigense's doctrines, combining pagan superstitions and Christian
- According to the Rosicrucian InitiateMax
Heindel, the foundation of the Order of the Rose Cross occurred
in 1313, early 14th century.
- According to MasonAlbert
Pike, and later metaphysicianRené
Guénon and the scholarManly Palmer
Hall, the "Adepts of the Rose-Croix" are for the first time
expounded inDante'sThe Divine
In C.R.C.'s vault
- Fra. I.A. Fra. Ch. electione Fraternitatis caput. [elected head of
- Fra. G.V. M.P.G.
- Fra. F.R.C. Junior haeres S. Spiritus [younger heir of the house of the
- Fra. F.B. M.P.A. Pictor et Architectus [painter and architect]:
- Fra. P.A. Successor to Fra. I.O., Mathematicus
- Fra. A. Successor to Fra. P.D.
- Fra. R. Successor to Patris C.R.C., cum Christo Triumphantis [with Christ
The enigmatic "Fra. F.R.C." in the vault (the "R.C." in the
narrative,see above) is
mentioned as "heir"; this statement "younger heir of the house of the holy spirit" seems to provide evidence of
the intimate relation to "Father C.R.", possibly meaning "Father R.C." [forming the C.R.C.
- The poetFernando
Pessoa - known defender ofMasonic andRosicrucian ideals and possible
Rosicrucian Initiate, as he states "Initiated from Master to Disciple in the three minor degrees of the
(apparently extinct) Portuguese Templar Order" (Rosicrucians seem to have had a deep presence in
Portugal, intermixed with Templar tradition, and with evidence in monuments and literature, from
medieavel times into the 20th century) - wrote anhermetic poem titled "No Túmulo de Christian Rosenkreutz" [In the
Tomb of C.R.C], which states in the final line/verse: "Our Father Rose-n-c[k]reuz [Rosaecruz] knows and
keeps silent", which may attribute the whole key to the understanding of the "Fama" to the enigmatic
character described as "R.C." or "F.R.C".
- The sentence "cum Christo Triumphantis" [with Christ Triumphant] may
imply that the central meaning of the "Fama" is to give account of the final achievement into the "Great
Stone of the alchemists, or theHoly
Grail of the Templars) by C.R.C.,Christian
Rosenkreuz. This seems to describe that the symbolism of the
unification of the "Rose" and the "Cross" (Christian Rose Cross), in the Legend, implies the existence
of aChristic state
(Christ,the Light of the World), which includes liberation from the cycle ofbirths and
deaths, comparable and higher than theBuddhic state
(Buddha,the Light of Asia) described in the eastern sacred literature. This "Christic" process and state is
pointed by majoroccultists as being described in some
major western literary works as the 14th centuryThe Divine
Comedy or the 16th
Lusiads, and, it is also, to some extent,
explained in the Rosicrucian literature known asWestern
According to Émile Dantinne (1884–1969), the origins of the Rosicrucians may
have anIslamic connection. Rosenkreuz started his pilgrimage at the age of sixteen. This led him
toArabia,Egypt, andMorocco, where he came into contact with sages of the East who revealed to him the "universal
harmonic science." After learning Arabic philosophy inJerusalem, he was led to Damcar. This place
remains a mystery—it did not becomeDamascus but is somewhere not too far
from Jerusalem. Then he stopped briefly inEgypt. Soon afterwards, he embarked toFes, a center of philosophical and occult studies, such as the alchemy of Abu-Abdallah, Gabir
ben Hayan, andImam Jafar al
Sadiq, the astrology and magic of Ali-ash-Shabramallishi, and the
esoteric science of Abdarrahman ben Abdallah al Iskari. However, Dantinne states that Rosenkreuz may have
found his secrets amongst theBrethren of
Purity, a society of philosophers that had formed
inBasra (Iraq) sometime during the 900s. Their doctrine had its source in the study of the
philosophers, but it became more neo-Pythagorean. They adopted
thePythagorean tradition of envisioning objects
and ideas in terms of their numeric aspects. Theirtheurgy andesoteric knowledge is expounded in an
epistolary style in theEncyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity.
The Brethren of Purity and theSufis were united in many points of doctrine. They both were mystical orders deriving
fromQur'anic theology but
supplantingdogma with a faith in the Divine Reality. There were many similarities between the
Rosicrucian way as expressed in the manifestos and the way of life of the Brethren of Purity. Neither group
wore special clothing, both practiced abstinence, they healed the sick, and they offered their teachings
free of charge. Similarities also were evident in the doctrinal elements of theirtheurgy and the story of creation in terms ofemanationism.
Notes and references
- ^ It is generally assumed, among
researchers, that theFama may have been in circulation ca. 1610 since a reply to
already been printed in 1612 by Adam Haselmayer who had seen a manuscript copy of
theFama inTyrol in 1610. In 1612 "De Ragguagli di Parnasso [Advertisements from Parnassus]" was
published in Venice andTrajano
Boccalini, listed as author of the "Generale Riforma dell'
Universo" (77th. Advertisement), had died in 1613.Manly Palmer
Hall refers that the author of the 77th Advertisement may
- ^ Dante Alighieri in "The Divine
Comedy: 3rd Cantica, Canto XXXI":«In fashion then as of a
snow-white rose / Displayed itself to me the saintly host, / Whom Christ in his own blood had made his
- ^ Camoens in "The Lusiads: Canto X":
«Makes you reward, baron, the Sapience / Supreme of, with the
corporal eyes, / see what can not the vain science / of the wrong and miserable